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Web API glossary of terms

By Evan Prodromou,
December 18, 2006 12:02 AM ET
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The world of Web APIs is full of cryptic acronyms that can be hard to remember. Here's a cheat-sheet with some common terms used in this article and elsewhere.

 XML-RPC – a protocol that formats procedure calls and results as XML documents transported over HTTP. One of the oldest Web API standards.

 SOAP – Simple Object Access Protocol. A W3C standard for procedure calls and message-passing; the successor to XML-RPC.

 REST – Representational State Transfer. More of a method than a standard, REST models data as Web documents with identifying URLs and uses standard HTTP requests such as GET, PUT, HEAD, DELETE and POST to manipulate them. The champion of hip API styles.

 AJAX – Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. A clever technique using JavaScript and new browser features to call Web APIs on the server, giving a snappier user interface to Web applications.

 YAML – A simplified format for structured data, without the tagging overhead of XML. Recursively, “YAML Ain't a Markup Language”.

 JSON – JavaScript Object Notation. Another simplified structured data format using JavaScript literals as the interchange format. Has the nice property of being easily parseable in browsers. A hot de facto standard.

< Return to main story: Ten Web 2.0 APIs you can really use>

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